You need to be a little patient to enjoy these braised lamb shanks, but there's not much hands on work and they are so worth the wait. Rich, tender and delicious, this is comfort food at it's best.
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Lamb shanks are undoubtedly one of my favorite dishes. If I see it on the menu when we are out, I am pretty much always tempted. I remember having it one time when we were visiting family in the UK and it was on the menu at the pub we went for dinner.
Both of my parents and I ordered it, and all of us, including my then three-year-old son who had
some lots of mine, made sure we got every last bite it was so good. The one thing you can't get away from if you make lamb shanks at home is they need a while to cook, as you need to break down some of the connective tissue.
But once you do, you are left with some seriously flavorful meat that is fall-off-the-bone tender.
I've previously shared less typical but delicious lamb shank recipes - slow cooker lamb rogan josh with lamb shanks and tangia-style lamb shanks. We loved both, but these braised lamb shanks are I guess a bit more traditional and full of Mediterranean flavors that we all loved, kids included.
I've drawn on a few recipes for this and the result is such a flavorful dish that is already a firm favorite (is it strange to have young kids requesting them?!).
Steps to make braised lamb shanks
This dish follows the fairly typical approach for braised dishes:
- Brown the meat.
- Soften the vegetables.
- Deglaze and add the other sauce ingredients.
- Add back the meat.
- Transfer to the oven to cook low and slow.
See just how easy it is in the short video!
You could do this in the slow cooker, but I think it works better as an oven cook so that the sauce thickens up a little and the flavor intensifies.
You still end up with a bit more sauce than you need, but you can keep the extra and use it with pasta. Or, if you've got younger kids like us, they had mainly sauce with some couscous and a few bits of meat added in.
A family favorite
As my 5 year old was eating his bowl the first time, he declared, "this is delicious!" and proceeded to ask for more of everything, particularly the meat. Never one to be left out, my 2 year old then asked for more too. Even once we were finished, my older son then tried to spot leftover bits on the bones!
These braised lamb shanks may take a little time to cook, but it is hands off time, and time well spent. The meat is tender, the sauce is full of flavor but without any one thing dominating - not too much red wine, not too much tomato.
Just a wonderful, warming bowl of deliciousness.
Try these other comforting meals:
- Slow cooker short ribs
- Bo kho - Vietnamese beef stew
- Pulled pork stuffed shells
- Roman lamb stew (abbacchio alla cacciatora)
- Plus get more ideas in the winter recipes archives.
Braised lamb shanks
- 1 carrot approx ½ cup, 75g
- ½ onion large, approx 1 cup, 125g
- 2 ribs celery ½ cup, 65g
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 lamb shanks approx 1 ½lb, 680g
- ½ cup red wine 120ml
- 14 oz chopped tomatoes 400g, 1 regular can/tin
- ½ cup light stock 120ml
- ½ tablespoon tomato paste tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Peel and finely dice the carrots and onions. Slice the celery thinly, cutting any larger slices in half or smaller so they are similar size to the carrots and onions.
- Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
- Warm 1tablespoon of the oil in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold both lamb shanks but relatively tightly, so the sauce will come well up the side without needing too much. Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides, over a medium-high heat - I know this can be tricky given their shape but do as best you can. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add the carrot, onion and celery to the pan along with the rest of the oil and cook, stirring now and then, for a couple minutes until the onions are softened. Reduce heat if needed so they don't burn.
- Add the red wine and allow it to bubble a minute then add the tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, mixed herbs, thyme and bay leaf. Stir to ensure mixed then add back the lamb shanks, pushing them under the sauce so they are largely covered.
- Cover the dish and transfer to the oven. Cook for approximately 2 hours, a little more is fine, checking after around 1 ½ hours and turning the lamb shanks if they are out of the sauce. If the sauce looks particularly low, add a little more stock but you do want it to reduce a bit (see photos above).
- Great served with something to mop up the sauce eg couscous, rice, quinoa or mash.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Try some other main dish ideas from other bloggers:
- Chicken Zucchini Pasta with Almond Pesto by April Golightly
- Creamy Lemon Pepper Chicken Spaghetti by The Bitter Side of Sweet
- Dutch Oven Braised Pot Roast Dinner by Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Panko and Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops by Jersey Girl Cooks
- Skillet Chicken Parmesan by Hardly A Goddess
- Slow Cooker Irish Lamb Stew by Cooking Chat
- Turkey Fennel Skillet Dinner by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings